Tuesday Rays Tidbits

 

 
            
 
Who Benefited from Hammel Trade?
 
By now everyone who follows the Tampa Bay Rays have hard of the trade of starter/reliever Jason Hammel to the Colorado Rockies. But with that trade, do you think that Jeff Niemann was the big winner by getting to finally call the fifth rotation spot his own now. I truly do not think he was the big winner per se. You got to remember that the Rays invested a first round draft pick for Niemann when he finished his Rice University career. I think the Rays did everything in their power not to give up the 6 foot 9 inch Niemann who is one of only 6 pitchers towering over 6’7 ” this year on anyone MLB roster.
 

 
Now you really want to know why having a guy of this height on your roster is a positive thing, just look at current San Francisco Giant pitcher Randy Johnson. Because of his powerful fastball coming in at a downward angle, bot his power and breaking pitches seem to have a bit moire bite to them at the plate. The intimidation factor is big for a pitcher. And when you are tall and can seem to almost reach out and touch the batter in just your wind-up, it can be a huge mental edge going into a game. I think that Niemann doesn’t have the most powerful stuff on the Rays staff, but he does have the advantage of that downward flow to the plate, which should keep some guys deep in the batters box on him to begin the season.
 


Now, I addressed a bit of this issue earlier in the blog, but the real guy who is the winner of the Hammel trade is actually reliever Lance Cormier. Just like last season, the last roster spot of the Spring went to a reliever. Last year it was the battle between Grant Balfour and Scott Dohmann, that surprisingly took Balfour to Triple-A to begin the season. But Balfour went down with a chip on his shoulder and actually worked harder than in Spring Training to again get back up to the major league level.   This year, Cormier had some fantastic moments on the mound and looked to just be the odd-man out in the Bullpen.
 

 
But with Hammel’s trade, it not only opened a long-reliever slot for him, but will give him more time to convince the Rays that he is the man to keep once Jason Isringhausen is ready to make his Rays debut on the roster later in the month. So it will be a short period of time that Cormier will have to convince the Rays to keep him and maybe throw another reliever on the hot seat, or even trade them to keep his arm on the staff. During this spring, Cormier made only 10 appearances for 16.2 innings, but his 1.62 ERA was the highest totals by a Rays reliever this spring.  his control was also spot-on all spring, which is evident by his 12 strikeouts and 2 walks.  He was the only true reliever to post double digit strikeouts this spring for the Rays. Balfour was just one short with 9 for the Spring. 


 

 

Rays Watch Parties for Red Sox Series

 

Fresh off the Internet after midnight tonight I got word from the Rays Fan Experience Coordinator Sean Liston, that the team has finalized plans for watch parties during the Rays Opening series in Boston.  These events will also have some samples on hand  to check out that will be given out in the home stand starting on April 14th. Among those items on display at the events will be the replica A L Championship ring, the World Series Cowbell, and the mini A L Championship trophy.
 
 

 
But that is not all, on hand before the game will be Mr “Magical Season” himself, Rich Herrera with the Rays pregame and post game shows live at the location.  Liston mentions on his email that he want the Maniacs and other Rays fans to shout and cheer so loud the “Rays announcer Rich Herrera can’t hear himself think.” All locations will be in the Tampa and St Petersburg region this series, with additional watch parties to be announced in other areas of Tampa Bay in the future. So be sure to come out and support the Rays, and maybe make some new Rays friends at any of these three locations during the Red Sox versus the Rays series from Fenway Park.
 

Tuesday, April 7th:  
         
Lee Roy Selmon’s  Restaurant, 4301 West Boy   Scout Blvd. Tampa Florida ( 813) 871-3287. This location is right across the road from the entrance to the International Mall complex off Sligh Avenue just east of the Tampa International airport.  Rich Herrera will begin his Pregame show at 3:30 pm LIVE  on WDAE 620 AM radio.
 

Wednesday, April 8th:

Smokey Bones Restaurant,  8020 Citrus Park Drive, Tampa, Florida ( 813)920-9434.  This location is located just west of the Veterans Expressway ( Toll) at the Gunn Highway Exit.  Rich Herrera will start the pregame at 6:30 pm  LIVE on WDAE 620 AM radio.
 

Thursday, April 9th:

Hooter’s Restaurant  10400 Roosevelt Blvd, St. Petersburg, Florida ( 727) 568-0685. This restaurant is located off Roosevelt Blvd just east of 9th street North between 4th Street North. It is hidden a bit off the road  just to the east of the Walgreens in the shopping plaza. Rich Herrera will begin his pregame show at 6:30 pm  LIVE on WDAE 620 AM radio.

 

                       
 
 
Ex-Ray Gomes Does Everything but sells popcorn for Reds
 

With the final rosters having to be submitted to Major League Baseball by 3 pm on Sunday, one former Rays player did not make his respective teams 25-man rosters for the 2009 season.  This one was a complete surprise, because of the comments and posturing of his manager in recent discussions about the player.  Jonny Gomes  not making the final Reds roster was a bit of a surprise since he seemed to have hit the ball well and was very active in the field during his spring training tryout with the Cincinnati Reds as a non-roster invitee. He started off real strong in the beginning of Spring Training, but did tail off a bit and ended up hitting .244, with a team high 4 homers and 12 RBI’s.  Red’s blogs the last few days have voiced their opinions loud and clear as to the demotion and sending of Gomes to the minor leagues. Cincy GM Walt Jocketty told Cincinnati.com that  he hopes that Gomes accepts the minor league designation.
 


But Gomes was trying to do everything in his power to make this squad, even trying to take reps at a position he has not played a lot during his major league career. This spring, Gomes was trying to be the back-up plan that first base for the Reds, but now that he is not on the squad, that duty will fall to current catcher Ramon Hernandez, who has played the position only 7 times during his own MLB career. Gomes was jobless from Dec. 13, when the Tampa Bay Rays, the only organization he had played for, announced they wouldn’t offer him a contract, to Jan. 19, when he signed with the Reds. “I wouldn’t recommend getting non-tendered to any ballplayer,” Gomes said. “But it’s a way to get you ready for spring training. I just came in ready for anything. You never know what you’re going to be asked.”

 

 
In Gomes’ case, that has included learning a new position. Gomes has done all the Reds have asked and more. You pretty much completely discount early spring training stats – unless you’re in Gomes’ position. He knew he had to get off to a decent start to remain in the running for the left field/extra outfielder spot. But how did Gomes think he did during this spring to make it a tough decision for the Red not to sue him this year. “Not being on the 40-man, minor-league invite. When it comes down to cut time, you don’t have a good argument when you have 21 at-bats Gomes told me the other night. “I had to come in here ready, physically, mentally, all of the above. I felt I have.”
 

Gomes’ situation is not completely foreign to him. He spent some time on the fringe of the roster with Tampa Bay. “I know how that feels,” he said. “Coming up through the minor leagues without establishing myself as a big leaguer, I played winter ball a lot. A few seasons, I was into early February playing winter ball still. I always felt that was an advantage for me. This year, not being on a roster, I just felt I couldn’t risk going down there and getting hurt. I had to do my own work in the cage. You do what you’ve got to do.” Well, personally Jonny, I hope they see the errors of their ways and get you back into a Reds uniform soon. You are the type of player every team needs in their dugout, and in their clubhouse.  I know I would play you on my squad if I was a manager.
 
 

 
Photo credits:      1) www.tbo.com ( Chris Urso)
                           2) www.boston.com ( Jim Davis)
                           3) www.bradenton.com ( Unknown)
 
 
 

17 Comments

I thought Jonny had made the squad! I thought for sure he’s be in a Reds uniform from the get go.
I hope Niemann has a good run in the #5 spot.
How many of these Rays parties are you going to?
Canuck
http://watercooler.mlblogs.com

Jonny was told on Saturday night that the team was going in another direction. He is now consulting with his agent on his next move. If he goes and accepts the Reds Triple-A designation, He is a Reds player.
If he refuses the assignment, he is a free agent again.
Niemann will be there until he proves that David Price would be a better option……plain and simple.
I will be at two of them. I have a pre-arranged video shoot with the Rays and a group of kids with Raymond today at 4:30 pm.
I am not happy it is on a game day, but it is a shoot that was planned for the off-day originally.

Rays Renegade

http://raysrenegade.mlblogs.com

I think the parties are a fantastic idea. Show us pix from the ones you go to. I joined the Evil Empire West here in CA and plan to watch a few Yankees games with them – a nice way to connect with like-minded fans way out here on the west coast.

http://janeheller.mlblogs.com

I hope they get this server fixed soon.
I have posted this same response 5 times today lol
Awesome Jane that the west coast edition of the pinstripes can take in an afternoon of baseball.
But are you guys a lot more laid-back than the Bleacher Creatures?
Nothing better than to take in games with a new crowd and swap stories and cheers concerning your team.

Rays Renegade

http://raysrenegade.mlblogs.com

Rays – I hope you have a great time at the parties! I just got home from teaching and have the pre-game on! It is chilly here – and probably will be cold by the end of the game – but I’m as excited as I was on Sunday walking around the park! Go Red Sox! opps! ;-)

Julia
http://werbiefitz.mlblogs.com/

I just want to see some real ball.
It is only about 30 minutes until first pitch, and the Rays pregame is on right now.
I am actually sitting in a bar across from Tropicana Field since i have to go over there at 4:30 for my Raymond video shoot.
I am still not happy, but it was a pre-arranged thing for the off-day.
Then I will hop up on a barstool at Ferg’s and watch the rest of the game. Boneless Chicken Wings and cool blue cheese dressing yummmmmmmmmmmmmm

Rays Renegade

http://raysrenegade.mlblogs.com

I voted for you @the Max. I hope you win.
Aaron
http://mlbtribefan.mlblogs.com

Thank you Aaron.
I know I am in a AL East dogfight today against a Yankee blogger, but sometimes the good guys win.
Seriously, it is all for fun and giggles, but it is nice to know people like what you write, and like you too.

Rays Renegade

http://raysrenegade.mlblogs.com

I’m writing this comment hoping it doesn’t register 3 times!
How did the video shoot go with Raymond and all the kids did you survive? :)
Hope the Rays can pull it off today! I saw that Evan was able to bring in two in the 8th, too little too late I guess…I wasn’t able to get the game due to the postponement, and tonight it’s some season preview for the Jays. I’ll just have to stay glued to the computer again.
Good luck on the Max, Know it’s all for fun but man, the final four? That’s awesome! And yes, I already voted for you!
Canuck
http://watercooler.mlblogs.com

Probably hurt watching Beckett own them yesterday, eh? Long way to go though. They’ll be fine.
–Jeff
http://redstatebluestate.mlblogs.com/

The Max blog tourney did not even last 6 hours today. I guess they want to get it over with and go on with their lives. That is fine. It just sucks that I got up at 9 am and I was already behind, but such is life. It was fun anyways.
I did not go to the video shoot I came to my senses and told them it was Opening Day and I would not be there.
Thank you for the vote.

Rays Renegade

http;//raysrenegade.mlblogs.com

Jeff,
Actually it did not bother me as much as the weather did. I am still confused on why we play in cold climates in the first week of April. It is not like the Trop is doing anything this week.
But, we can not control the weather without retractable roof and domes, so it is a mute thing. And I know that Boston will never have a domed stadium.

Rays Renegade

http://raysrenegade.mlblogs.com

Regardless, won’t David Price be in the rotation once he finds better control for his fastball. I’m assuming by June he will be up–but you know your Rays better than I do.
-Dan
http://twelvesixcurve.mlblogs.com/

Regardless, won’t David Price be in the rotation once he finds better control for his fastball. I’m assuming by June he will be up–but you know your Rays better than I do.
-Dan
http://twelvesixcurve.mlblogs.com/

Lol,
Man I love this comment problem. I know MLBlogs.com is working on it, so if anyone else sees this multiple comments stream, it is okay for now.
I actually think that the Rays will be very careful with Price the rest of the year.
You might not even see him in June, but that is the plan right now. I think if he does great in his Triple-A starts, he will be here. If not, he will get some extra work up in Durham.
Either way it is a plus plus for the Rays. When he gets here, he will not be going back to the minor baring an injury.

Rays Renegade

http://raysrenegade.mlblogs.com

Lol,
Man I love this comment problem. I know MLBlogs.com is working on it, so if anyone else sees this multiple comments stream, it is okay for now.
I actually think that the Rays will be very careful with Price the rest of the year.
You might not even see him in June, but that is the plan right now. I think if he does great in his Triple-A starts, he will be here. If not, he will get some extra work up in Durham.
Either way it is a plus plus for the Rays. When he gets here, he will not be going back to the minor baring an injury.

Rays Renegade

http://raysrenegade.mlblogs.com

Looks like your Rays are having a much better night tonight. Scott Kazmir looked really good out there. So did Grant Balfour! I see Carlos Pena hit a two-run homer, too. Actually, it looks like pretty much everyone in the lineup was having a good night!-Erinhttp://plunking-gomez.mlblogs.com

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